Short stay in Mollymook Beach (NSW South Coast) early last week & now back in Canberra…

Mollymook – North end…further around is a natural rock pool – good for swimming

Nth end…Looking toward South end of Mollymook…both are patrolled by lifesavers

A note on Mollymook Beach…

Very popular with Sydneysiders and Canberrans as almost equidistant from both CBDs (although slower from Sydney due to the traffic of a big city of course). It’s a 2.5 hour drive for us from Canberra; 3 hours if we stop for a picnic lunch in Braidwood (an historic country town) or Nelligen on the Clyde River and near the coast. Nelligen has an interesting history too (post on both lovely places another day.

Here’s a few photos of Canberra one Autumn recently…being inland, Canberra has the 4 seasons which we love (mostly!) too:

Taken by our granddaughter after we saw the 1968? Movie Herbie at the National Library theatre
View from near National Museum cafe (recommended) toward Parliament House

“New Parliament House”…interesting to take a tour (about 40 min) even if you only have a slight interest in politics…our interest seems to grow as the years go by but maybe that’s because we’re not super busy with young children/careers nowjust grandchildren occasionally. New Parliament House has a cafe as well which serves a High Tea with Indigenous ingredients. I’ve heard the food is lovely but agreed with my friend (visiting from Sydney) that the cafe feels like a large cafeteria -needs a redesign with creativity that goes beyond the food. Many would say that our Federal Government also needs that at the moment!😉 The outdoor terrace off the cafe is pleasant and has views across to the Australian War Memorial with it’s Art Deco style…opened to public in 1941 and also worth a visit if visiting Canberra.


Photo from Net – “Enlighten”

AUSTRALIA’S OLD PARLIAMENT HOUSE (foreground of above photo)

Home of Australia’s parliament from 1927 until 1988…Heritage listed since 2006?…Art Deco style.

Now MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRACY – MoAD…love what’s being done there including the regular “Best Political Cartoons of the Year” (“Behind the Lines”); the children’s school holiday activities eg. Cartooning; the tours (there’s a short one available to public); the 2 cafes (I prefer Hoi Polloi...near the grassy courtyard toward the back)…a restaurant as well.


The local markets are one of my favourite places to meet up with old and new friends. In Canberra, a small city (the Capital), we have a diverse population (generally more harmonious than some of the bigger cities like Melbourne and Sydney), so the range of produce is improving year by year.

There are also excellent Middle Eastern food stores/green grocer in Mawson (near Woden Town Centre) – a suburb/small shopping complex on my 15/20 min drive back from school to the inner south of Canberra.

THE OLD BUS DEPOT MARKETS NEAR LAKE BURLEY GRIFFIN, KINGSTON…another great foodie stop (+ arts including music etc) on a Sunday. A wonderful place for families too. Try the locally made cheese…beautiful…almost as good as French cheese we think.

I COULD CONTINUE ON AND WRITE SO MUCH MORE ON CANBERRA (AND SOUTH COAST) but do like exploring our food related experiences in more exotic locations; however, there is an excellent newly updated book on Canberra. (Note to self…include picture of book cover etc)


Not one of my fave photos with hair frizz due to Bali’s humidity!

It was fun learning about the combination of Balinese spices and flavours. I’ve been meaning to make up a spice paste for “Chicken Braised in Spices” (P158 of Janet De Neefe’s book…”The Food of My Island Home” – Balinese name for chicken dish is Ayam betutu). It has 2 tablespoons of fresh turmeric, a spice that has many health benefits, according to my British/Indian/Aussie!! GP, including lowering the incidence of dementia (if eaten regularly of course).

Another salad recipe from her book at the end of this post.


Beauty of Bali highlighted in Ubud…many more photos in my last posts showing the stunning gardens at the small hotel where we stayed a week. There were many restaurants nearby but lovely meals could also be brought to your room and eaten on your own verandah/table.
Loved our accommodation in Ubud!…so tranquil and relaxing

A personal/writing therapy diversion…

Updating this post many years later (January 2019) and saw before I edited the original that I had been recovering from my 2nd major surgery (first when 13 in 1969)…another 2 painful spinal surgeries down the track now…hopefully no more in my lifetime!

Life could have been worse, as I see a friend (a decade+ older than me) with a similar condition who can hardly walk a few metres and needs a constant morphine patch. My spine is now a lot straighter/solid and walking distances is ok at a steady pace + gradually getting back into swimming. From talking with others who had similar surgeries, most seem to get to their 80s in a reasonably mobile condition with pain (now more like tightness/tiredness/sometimes aches) managed a lot better with minimal pain meds…I hope! Some days better than others!…

Reminds me to get back to South East Asia in the middle of Canberra winters…so many beautiful places!

Gallery/cafe for lunch in Ubud

One day we visited an Art Gallery which had a little cafe/restaurant…tables overlooked this pretty tropical setting.

We had a small/light Balinese lunch so we still felt like swimming in the afternoon – although I was unable to swim a lot at this stage (not long before surgeries) as it aggravated my back. That was frustrating as I find swimming a good way to generally help my back troubles + manage weight etc. Fortunately after surgeries this year I’m getting back into swimming (& eating!) again – just in time for summer in Australia😎


Today I was inspired to write more about Bali as a good friend called to ask for the Carrot and Cucumber Salad recipe we made at our last small dinner party. We all loved it so here it is again from one of Janet Deneefe’s first books – which we own + we’ve been to her cooking class as well (photo above). More information about her here if interesting?…

The Carrot and Cucumber Salad (Janet suggests adding other slaw ingredients so we did – cabbage):

Ingredients: 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded; 1 large carrot (julienne both carrot & cucumber); 2 red shallots finely sliced; 2 tablespoons white or raw sugar; sea salt; 80 ml rice vinegar.


Put the cucumber, carrot, cabbage (if you decide to use), and shallots in a bowl and add the sugar and some salt to taste. Mix with your hand, slightly bruising the ingredients to draw out more flavour. Mix in the vinegar. Taste for seasoning, making sure there is a good balance of sweet and sour. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serves 4-6

Note: we reduced the amount of dressing as we thought it was getting a little too wet for our liking.

It’s a bright and refreshing salad, perfect as an accompaniment to spicy Indonesian dishes. The salad is also beautiful the next day – starts to ferment so is good for aiding digestion & a healthy gut!

A FAVE RECIPE: CHICKEN BRAISED IN SPICES – P158 of Janet’s book (see last posts + details above)…we buy higher welfare (RSPCA approved chickens)

Balinese Spice Paste – v similar spice pastes are used with other meats/fish and vegetables; this one works well with chicken:

5 candlenuts (Janet suggested Macadamia nuts in Oz); 2 cloves; 1.5 tbsp coriander seeds; 4 tbsp chopped galangal (if you can’t find it at your market check on Net for substitute…probably fresh ginger?); 1.5 tbsp chopped ginger; 2 tbsp fresh turmeric (we keep it frozen in fridge for up to a mth…use gloves to prevent your fingers looking like a heavy smoker😉; 2 teaspoon black peppercorns; 1 teaspoon white peppercorns; 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (fresh is best); 2 teaspoon kencur (if available…or a substitute?? check Net); 2 teaspoons shrimp paste; 5 red shallots; 8 garlic cloves; 8 long red chillies; 3lemongrass stalks, white part only…last 4 ingredients all finely chopped.

To make spice paste, grind the candlenuts and dry spices to a powder in a mortar. Finely chop the remaining ingredients, with a cleaver if possible, to give a coarse blend rather than a smooth paste. Mix with ground spices. You could use a blender but take care not to overblend.

Chicken Prep: Rinse 1 large chicken and pat it to dry. Pour oil (100 ml vegetable oil…my dietitian would prefer Canola) into a pot large enough to hold chicken and place over a medium heat. Add spice mix and fry for 30 secs, stirring, until fragrant; throw in 5 Salem leaves (only occasionally at Asian shop…think bay leave can substitute?); 5 kaffir lime leaves; 3 lemon grass stalks (bruised)…fry for another 30 secs.

Add chicken to pot along with palm sugar (1 tablespoon grated…or brown sugar); wet tamarind (1 tablespoon); pinch salt – cover with water. Submerge chicken. Cover and bring to boil…reduce heat and cook for 30 min or until chicken just tender. Add sesame oil & taste for seasoning.

Shred chicken and serve with some of it’s stock/spices and steamed rice. The carrot & cucumber salad (above) goes well with this too or if time is limited some simple chicken satay! However, this is worth the effort if you have the time/inclination😋

The left over stock can be frozen and used for base of a soup or to flavour other dishes.

A simple/quick SATAY recipe for those busy nights…

A FAVOURITE WITH OUR GRANDCHILDREN…P60 of our book “The Essential Asian Cookbook” (Murdoch books)…also a favourite book of ours for simplified dishes from all regions of Asia

500 g chicken tenderloins (or thigh fillet); 1 tablespoon honey; 1/4 cup soy sauce; 2 teaspoon sesame oil; 1 teaspoon ground coriander; 1 teaspoon ground turmeric; 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder…+ limes to serve?


Thread chicken onto soaked wooden skewers and place them in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Quick Satay Sauce:

Cook 1 finely cooked onion in a tablespoon oil until softened and then stir in 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1/2 cup coconut cream and 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce. (I like to add some fresh v finely chopped chilli…long 1s aren’t hot like small type).

Cook gently until smooth and heated through. To cook satays place skewers on a preheated grill and cook for 5-7 min, turning and basting with marinade frequently.

Serve with warm satay sauce…satay sauce keeps well in a jar but needs to be brought to room temperature before serving.

We often serve with lime wedges – sometimes with a green mango salad in summer and/or the carrot and cucumber salad recipe above.